Ross Video: Any-to-Any HD/ UHD/ HDR Conversion, Master Control & IP

Hello, I’m Bill Rounopoulos, business development manager for OEM and openGear, and I’ll be presenting along with Mark, Allen, and Simon.

First, some background on openGear. An industry-standard platform of choice since 2006, openGear is an open-architecture modular platform created by Ross Video and supported by a diverse range of equipment manufacturers. Now on our fourth generation, the frame with its distinct glow and higher power supports today’s most demanding UHD and IP productions while maintaining backward compatibility. The platform offers the freedom to choose technology from a wide range of products to meet the needs of your broadcast production or distribution facility. It continues to evolve and has been branching into other markets like Pro IV. As Thomas at Apantac mentioned, it’s even ended up on yachts.

Through the cooperative efforts of the large diverse set of partners, openGear delivers best-of-breed product and budget options for customers, all while ensuring common control and monitoring within the DashBoard control ecosystem.

Gone are the days of having half-empty frames and multiple control systems to manage your facility. openGear offers one frame, one control system, and hundreds of options. This is why openGear is popular. The number of frames continues to grow with 38,000 shipped, and we’re hoping to get over 40,000 this year, if we can get through the current circumstances. The number of openGear and DashBoard partners also continues to grow every year. We’re currently over 125.

Simon:
Good afternoon, my name is Simon. I’m the product manager for openGear at Ross Video. My focus today is around the UHD portion of our extensive openGear portfolio. We have a full range of products to meet your UHD production needs using UHD SDI as a key technology.

When it comes to selecting a technology for UHD, we believe that 12G or UHD SDI is practical. It’s simple to deploy and to troubleshoot, and it may be more appropriate compared to some of the alternatives. It’s also useful, like in the case of an HGSI workflow today. You can be ready as the need for higher-quality content or HGSI becomes a requirement.

First of all, distribution. That’s a very important piece of infrastructure, and density and reliability of performance are key for those products. The solution we offer allows you to have up to 20 distribution outputs per chassis, so you can replicate up to 20 signals. We use a special RF connector that gives us the modularity that you expect for a product like this, but without compromising the high-level signal integrity required for UHD SDI. That makes it a solid choice for a single distribution in UHD.

On to the GATOR family and multiple application support. They’re all built on a platform that gives us native UHD processing reliably at very high density. So what are those applications? We support conversion with GATOR-TOOLBOX, frame sync and synchronization with GATOR-SYNC, branding with GATOR-KEY, and finally full master control application with MC1-UHD.

GATOR-SYNC is our synchronization product for UHD. This is a product that has been successfully used in many UHD applications, so it’s a robust audio video frame sync with full audio processing. It supports up to four independent channels, a frame sync per card giving you up to 40 channels for 2RU. With this, you have a really dense, robust choice for synchronization in UHD with GATOR-SYNC.

GATOR-TOOLBOX is our UHD solution for UHD signal conversion. It handles all the problems that we believe you’re likely to encounter in UHD production. For instance, we support different formats — single link, UHD, SDI — natively, but we also support a multi-link format you can convert to and from one another. We support HDR and wide color gamut conversion, and conversion from HD to UHD with very high quality.

We also include a very high-quality, near-motion, adaptive framework converter with very low latency that’s ideal for live production and, of course, full audio processing. In terms of features, we’re releasing a new software version that’s coming up that adds support for a popular multi-link centered SQD. We also added support for discrete audio embedding and de-embedding, memory, and presets so you can recall settings easily. Optical UHD SDI, so fiber support for UHD SDI. And the update is going to be available for free in the June 2020 timeframe.

Some details around audio. The card is pretty flexible when it comes to discrete audio support. It offers eight bidirectional interfaces so you can configure it to suit your application needs at the moment. Whatever it’s embedding or de-embedding, it’s fully configurable, and we support both balance and imbalance AES.

In terms of hardware, there are a few variants. There’s a dense two-slot solution and a four-slot. If you need density in fiber, you’re going to want to go with a two-slot solution. If you’re dealing with a lot of multi links and need to replicate some signals to multiple destinations, the high-density SDI would be the variant that you should be using.

The four slots are all-around discrete audio embedding. They offer the same features as the dense SDI module, but also with discrete AES for imbalance or balance depending on what audio interface you choose or need.

I’m going to pass it over to Allen Friar, our solution architect and application guru, to go over some application examples.

Allen:
Here we have a sample application. This is a small mobile application for UHD production. In this situation, our mobile has been dispatched to an international sporting event that may not have happened this summer to send some feedback to the home country. With mobiles, often we’re not sure what we’re going to get when we arrive at the venue. We’re doing a UHD production, and we’re doing it in HDR, HLG.

So we arrived with some cameras. We had to rent another camera. And when we picked it up, we found out that it was a quad link SQD camera, not a problem. We put a GATOR-TOOLBOX in there to do the gearbox functionality for us and also to handle the HDR conversion from the camera’s native S log output. In addition, the venue has given us some camera feeds, but they’re HD. So the 1080i that was coming from the venue we can run through our GATOR-TOOLBOX. We can upconvert those and do the HDR conversion, and it’s going to fit into our native 12G SDI core. We have a remote feed that’s coming from one of the local broadcasters over fiber. So again, GATOR-TOOLBOX can offer us that fiber input and handle the framework conversion from the country’s native 50 Hertz to our production 59.94 fps.

In addition, it’ll frame sync that to get it aligned to our production reference. On the output, in addition to our native UHD HDR feed, we have to provide some HD feeds. So we’ve got a domestic feed, and we’re going to downconvert that to 1080p using the downconvert function of GATOR-TOOLBOX. We also have an international feed that we need to provide at 1080p/50. So again, we’ll use standards conversion to frame-rate-convert that to 50 hertz, and also do the downconversion at the same time.

One of the things that’s really great about our conversion technology is that the frame sync, the format convert, and the frame rate converter are all combined into one core. So we don’t cascade a lot of latency there. In fact, it’s only about a two-frame latency for the entire pipeline.

Also, with that international feed and our domestic HD feed, we need to embed some discrete audio. Again, with GATOR-TOOLBOX with the AS embedding option, we were able to embed some discrete audio to get the audio married with the video, going to our domestic feeds and our international feeds.

All in all, we’ve been able to use one card in many places to solve the problems. And, in talking with a number of our mobile, rental, and venue clients, they really love the versatility that they can buy this one product, have it available, and not have to worry about what signal is going to get connected — because they can deal with everything. And back to Simon.

Simon:
Thank you, Allen. To sum it up, GATOR brings a lot of value to your UHD production workflow. Whether it’s native UHD SDI support, there’s no upgrade, no special modules required. Extremely low latency with quality. It’s ideal for live production and the density if we can get up to 10 channels in 2RU. So GATOR-TOOLBOX is a dense, low-latency, but really high-quality conversion solution for UHD.

On to master control. Our UHD master control solution is based on a modular design using the MC1 UHD openGear card as its core. And it’s integrated with our ULTRIX router to form a scalable solution. So it scales easily to handle a large number of sources and a number of channels. It also allows you to select best-in-class graphics for branding. As an example, you could use Ross Xpression. In terms of feature set, it’s based on the GATOR platform. It has 6 IO that supports UHD SDI natively, that connects to a router and basically allows you to select any sources on the router. It has four internal keys. Two of these can be internal, and it’s all UHD-native. We support a full range of audio processing, mixing, and flexible control that you can leverage to meet your specific control needs. Allen’s going to show you what a typical MC1 system looks like and how you can easily scale it to meet your branding needs.

Allen:
In the middle, we’ve got our openGear OGX frame, which is where the MC1 UHD card lives. And as Simon mentioned, this is a high-density scalable solution. I can put the 10 MC1 UHD cards into that frame to deal with multichannel master control applications. These are being fed by my ULTRIX router, which provides a program preview, and my two external key fills to each MC1 card.

So as we need to select different inputs on master control, the MC1 will control those router outputs to select the inputs as necessary. This gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of providing the number of inputs we need to go into our master control and scalability by using more outputs for the router to feed multiple MC1 UHD master controls.

One of the great advantages of using a master control switcher of this type is that you’re not tied into an integrated graphics or plant solution. The graphic solution of your choice can be fed either through SDI into one of the external key fills, such as our Ross Xpression graphic system. We also support, with Xpression, what we call Ross-Link, which is a network interface that allows us to push still graphics directly over the network interface to the frame buffer on the MC1 UHD card, utilizing one of the internal logo keyers. So you don’t need to utilize an SDI channel for the graphics system in order to do that. I could, perhaps, get a graphics renderer that does not have SDI output, or I can use my SDI for another purpose. All of this can be controlled manually.

We offer control by DashBoard and the Ultritouch control panel to allow manual operation, or we support automation through most of the popular master control automation systems. MC1 UHD was built on the foundations of our previous-generation master MC1 HD, or MC1 classic, as we like to call it. That’s been in the field for many, many years, and we’ve integrated with lots of different automation systems with hundreds of clients.

We’ve got a lot of experience in making the automation work seamlessly for your master control, and that’s all been poured into MC1 UHD, so it integrates really nicely with most automated systems. And of course, it’s not an either/or thing here; it’s not automated or manual. You can do a hybrid where you’re running automated master control. Say you need to do some manual cut-ins, so an operator can hop up on the panel as necessary, or you can do a semi-automatic where you have MC1 drive the automation through its rundown and simply use the human for timing.

There are a lot of options to tailor this to meet all kinds of master control applications. Of course the scalability of the system makes it really attractive when you start dealing with more than one channel. And many broadcasters now have multiple channels running out of the same facility, even at the local station level where you may have, for example, FOX and CBS broadcasting out of the same building.

Stepping back to simpler applications, MC1 is also great for stand-alone branding where we’re not doing a full master control. We simply have a path that we need to add some branding to in UHD. So again, we can leverage the keying power of MC1 UHD with the two external keys and the two internal keys. You can use Xpression Live CG, which is a software-only version of our Xpression software, through Ross-Link and not use any SDI interface to push graphics directly here. Or you can push it through FTP, any stills using popular image formats. Again, control can be via Ultritouch DashBoard or remote triggers with GPIs.

We have customers that take advantage of DashBoard custom panel capability and build custom applications around MC1. They’ve got MC1 as a branding engine in the middle, and the custom panel is driving their graphics and a few other things in their workflow to make a seamless work environment.

If we look competitively at how an MC1 solution looks to a traditional master control switcher, you see the advantages as we start to scale up. On the left, we’ve got a traditional master control switcher, and we need to implement four channels. That requires us to put four master control switcher boxes into the facility. It takes up eight RU.

With MC1, a single openGear chassis with four MC1 UHDs installed, and one of our smaller ULTRIX routers, which is a 32 square UHD router, performs the same tasks. And price-wise, there’s an order of magnitude difference. There’s a huge cost savings as you start to scale up, adding more channels of master control compared to a traditional master control solution.

So we’ll pass it over to our marketing product manager, Mr. Mark Revard, to talk about RAPTOR and our IP solutions.

Mark:
Thank you very much, Allen. Before our presentation, I’m going to give a brief update on our IP gear solutions. RAPTOR is our openGear card that is 6×6 U SDI ST 2110 Gateway. We can fit up to five RAPTOR cards into a 2RU openGear frame, which provides very diverse, very high density at very low cost per channel.

We have currently the RAPTOR, and we have a new release coming up that is available. A new production release, version 3.1, that provides great stability and high reliability. The RAPTOR card is the best companion for IP Gateway to our production switcher, for example.

Earlier we talked about our 12G SDI portfolio that we’ve expanded to a point where we have a complete 12G SDI portfolio, which includes the GATOR-TOOLBOX and the MC1 UHD capability. All the 12G SDI solutions in this portfolio have been built on the success stories of our 3G portfolio in openGear.

I’m going to go through a quick overview of our portfolio in 3G. We cover the needs from distribution with various interface, SD, HD, UHD support. We cover needs in conversion, like up/down/cross conversion, as well as DA capabilities. We cover needs for audio marks and demarks. We have frame sync solutions and IP solutions, and we were talking about the latest updates on the RAPTOR just a minute ago.

We also cover all the needs for rated to data solutions, the VANC insert and extract. We have keying and branding, expanding our MC1 classic solution to support UHD workflows. We have our historical fiber products, which are a big part of our catalog, as well as audio processing to name some of them: loudness, upmix, and Dolby encode and decode feature sets.

We’re announcing this year, on top of our 3G portfolio, we have a 12G SDI portfolio that we have brought to the market. And that concludes our presentation today. So I would like to thank everybody for joining our webinar today.

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